Engineering Week: Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Engineers

In honor of Engineering Week, we’ve put together a list of some people who were engineers before they were made famous for doing something else. Some may surprise you!

Tom Scholz, guitarist for Boston
Before Donald Thomas “Tom” Scholz became famous with the rock band Boston, he was an engineer working as a Senior Product Designer for Polaroid Corporation. Tom received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. And apparently engineering runs in the family! In 2005, Scholz’s son Jeremy also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.

Dolph Lundgrun, Actor
Before starring in such Hollywood blockbusters as Rocky IV, Universal Soldier, and The Expendables, Dolph Lundgren received Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Chemical Engineering. In addition, he was studying at MIT on a Fullbright Scholarship when he decided to drop out to pursue acting.

Herbie Hancock, Jazz Musician
Herbie Hancock attended Grinnell College and double majored, receiving Bachelor’s Degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Music. While engineering was Hancock’s initial career choice, his incredible musical talent has provided him with an extremely successful music career spanning over half a century.

Alfred Hitchcock, Director
Alfred Hitchcock graduated from the London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation before pursuing his career in directing psychological thrillers. And his engineering background actually helped him have the incredible success that he did. When working on “Vertigo,” Hitchcock was told that to simulate dizziness on camera would be too expensive to produce. He put his engineering mind to work and pioneered a technique that involved zooming in with a camera while moving the camera backward, which made the shot seem to be in double vision.

Bonus: five more famous engineers
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England
Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter, 31st and 39th Presidents of the United States, respectively
Tom Landry, NFL Coach
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert